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Energy Storage Summit – February 2018

One of our engineers recently attended the Energy Storage Summit, held in Victoria Plaza Hotel, London and thought it would be interesting to give people an overview of the summit.

The first, and most important point, was that the summit was very much about the wider future of energy storage projects, market trading, legal issues, commercial issues, financial investment and the the technical issues were only very lightly touched upon. From Aurora’s perspective this actually made things far more interesting, as while we are unashamedly technical specialists, it is important to get a wider understanding of one of the key UK  markets, as it can affect our own workload.

One of the widely held views in the summit, was that National Grid’s Enhanced Frequency Response (EFR) market is very oversubscribed, and it is unlikely that that there will be any significant growth in this particular aspect for a while. However, the view was also widely held that National Grid’s drive to decarbonise and decentralise the power generation market, will lead to increasing penetration of renewable power onto the electricity network. These renewable energy projects, will of course have the inevitable intermittency problems, but the use of co-location energy storage systems with the ability to store energy during high production / low demand and release gradually over low production / high demand periods will be a major feature of the UK market over the coming years.

Another very interesting point raised during the summit was that ‘behind the meter’ type storage projects for existing industrial users could be very beneficial and result in major cost savings, by allowing industrial users to store energy during low tariff charging periods and release the energy during high tariff periods, or simply as a way to help alleviate a supply bottleneck during high demand periods.  It was also pointed out that many industrial sites, have a lot of existing electrical infrastructure available, and this can be reduced to make the installation of storage projects attractive as the Grid connection fee is not needed.

Perhaps the most interesting things that we took away from the summit, was that energy storage will be here to stay for the foreseeable future – albeit in a different guise, and with more emphasis on load shifting over a 4+ hour duration, rather than short term 30 minute fast response performance.

While Aurora is a technical consultancy, the summit emphasised to us, that as a consultancy perhaps we too need to take a wider look at the regulatory and financial aspects to projects, so that we can provide a more holisitc consultancy service to our clients, and advise on financial viability as well as technical viability.

If you would like more details on energy storage projects, please do not hesitate to contact us.